Word aggression comes from Latin ad- gredere, to go towards the other.
Opposite is re- gredere, to draw back, to go backwards.
It can be similar to pro- gredere, to progress, to go forward.
When people hear word aggression, for most of them, negative thoughts automatically come to our mind. People imagine fights, swearing, noise and stuff breaking.
If you would set aside your first impression and destructive type of aggression, we could go beyond social constructs.
Aggression is a life instincts and it is necessary for contact with the external world.
First you have to bite the apple and chew it (destroy it) before you can digest it. Baby is biting mother’s nipple in order to stimulate glandes that will give milk to the baby.
Through these examples we can see how aggression (chewing, biting) is absolutely necessary for feeding and for survival.
Let’s see now how aggression interferes with contact
If you want to make contact with other person, you need to be energetically present and you need to show yourself. To talk with someone, to bond, to work alongside another, you must stand out, and that standing out present the base of aggression.
Aggression is an energetic, forceful, affirming, asserting, or protecting self in human relationships. Aggression is the energy of action.
In its inclusive form, aggression appears in the process of engaging in a connecting way and keeping engaged with others. Such aggression shows capacity to receive call for contact and to stay in contact.
When there is no aggression, people withdraw from others, they feel isolated and they don’t reach for support. If aggression shows in its negative form then person can destroy another and still stay without contact, support and love.
Transforming aggression into energy that will raise you, encourage you and prepare you dealing with yourself and others is a process.
According to Freud, the life instincts are focused on the preservation of life, both of the individual and of the species. This drive compels people to engage in actions that sustain their own lives, such as looking after their health and safety. It also exerts itself through sexual drives, motivating people to create and nurture new life.
If you are interested in this topic you can read more about Freud’s theories of Life and Death instincts.
Struggling with destructive aggression or with withdrawal can be frustrating and exhausting and you might visit therapist to help you manage you own aggression.
By Andrea Nenadic, Psychotherapist and Social Worker